What a lesson in contrasts this morning! First we have the Old Testament reading and chapter 28 may be the most negative judgemental one you will find in all of Scripture. Just read a portion below:
15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:
16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.
17 Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.
18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
20 The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. 21 The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. 22 The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. 23 The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. 24 The Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed. (Deuteronomy 28:15-24 [NIV])
God’s judgement and curses are plainly seen in a portion of this chapter. The first part does include blessings, but only by following God closely. We know that today that isn’t the case. Some who follow God closely are always having trouble and issues. In fact Jesus states that in the world we will always have trouble, but He has overcome the world and its troubles.
Then we read Luke 12 and find how much God loves us. We read the following:
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:6-12 [NIV])
Things have changes. It’s not now that when you do good you’ll receive a bunch of blessings and when you don’t you’ll be cursed. Now in the New Covenant we are playing by different rules. God expresses His love toward us and yet for the sake of the gospel there will be times when we suffer and things well be bad. And yet God never leaves us and in fact His Holy Spirit will guide us in what to say when we are confronted with those difficult times.
What are your expectations of the Christian life? Is it the Old Testament system of cause and effect or the New Testament one of doing what He calls us to do knowing it may bring hardship and trials, but that He loves us and will be our ultimate protector and Savior? Choose the latter today.